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Meals on (Two) Wheels

September 18, 2008 By: Peter Smith Category: Advocacy

Great story in the Portland Observer about some Meals on Wheels folks who decided they only needed two wheels to do what they do:

Kyle Lyles, 65, has reinvented the concept of meals on wheels.

Three times a week, he loads a bicycle trailer with coolers containing up to 15 meals, and brings them to local recipients of the Loaves & Fishes meal site at the Martin Luther King Jr. Multicultural Senior Center.

Lyles originally bought the trailer to transport his own groceries, but hit on the idea after he retired and read that Meals on Wheels was having a hard time keeping volunteers due to rising fuel costs.

Just in case you haven’t heard of Meals on Wheels, Wikipedia has a brief definition:

Meals-on-Wheels are programs that deliver meals to individuals at home who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals. The name is often used generically to refer to home-delivered meals programs, not all of which are actually named “Meals on Wheels.”

The national-level agency that coordinates activities with local chapters is the Meals on Wheels Association of America.

This part of the story cracked me up—that ah-ha! moment that we all get once in a while:

Across town in northeast Portland, a New Seasons Market employee Jamie Gabel independently thought of a similar concept, launching of a “meals on bike wheels” delivery program at the Concordia store.

“The idea first came to me on a perfect fall day in Portland, when I was delivering meals in my car,” Gabel said. “It was one of those days where you want to be outside so you can hear the leaves crush under your feet. So I said to my coworker, ‘What a gorgeous day. I wish I was on my bike.’ Then it took me about two seconds to realize that I COULD do this on my bike! All I needed was a bike trailer and some willing volunteers.”

I’ve never done Meals on Wheels myself, but my brother did it a bunch and he seemed to love it.

About a month ago, one of the Austin bicycle coordinators sent out a quick announcement email about a similar program starting up in Austin on September 15 (about three days ago), at Meals on Wheels and More.

Congrats to everyone involved in all of this awesomeness. Absolutely brilliant.

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